Migraineurs Bill of Rights

It happens every year: directly after Dragon*Con I get sick. It usually begins presenting itself on Monday, as I’m making my last rounds and putting everything together to leave. There’s the achiness (the full scope of which I can’t ever really tell since it pales in comparison to the hell I’ve put my feet through in the last 4 days) and the sore throat, which I undoubtedly blame on screaming in the green room but lasts far longer than the typical case of laryngitis. In past years I have gone directly to work the next day, without passing GO or collecting my $200. Not giving my body enough time to recuperate was probably not the best idea. Last year I was sick for almost three straight weeks. Let’s just say my employer was less than compassionate.

This was not “Con Crud,” as most folks contract. This was a migraine.

It is ridiculous, I tell myself, to be shot down by a stupid headache. A headache is an excuse to not participate in sexual intercourse. It is not an acceptable excust to miss work. A headache is not the flu. It does not kill people. I do not need to see a doctor.And yet I know what my triggers are — those of us who have had migraines since high school usually do. Sleep, Stress, Barometric Pressure, Hormones. Dragon*Con hits the first two big time. The adrenaline and caffeine keep me going for four days and then I crash. Or rebound. Or both. I find myself curled in a ball in the hallway, weeping into the floorboards.

According to this article, “Migraines: Myth & Reality”, the World Health Organization ranks Migraine as one of the top twenty causes of years of healthy life lost to disability. Migraines are not just headaches but a genetically-based disease (thank you, Nana). Migraines can induce a host of serious physical conditions: strokes, aneurysms, permanent visual loss, severe dental problems, coma, and even death. Even more unfortunately, there is no sure-fire way to diagnose migraines, and there is no cure.

Migraine sufferers are a lot like writers–some of us lucky ones are both–often selling themselves short. A migraine is real. It is an illness. You need to take care of yourself.

While doing some online MD research for a friend recently, I stumbled across a Migraineurs Bill of Rights. I thought maybe now, while I’m stuck in a cold, dark room sipping tea and watching Bones on Hulu, might be a good time to share it.

I have only one caveat — the first bullet point says that you have the right to be taken seriously by a physician when explaining about your migraine. I would have added a bullet point before that one, making sure that you took YOURSELF seriously enough to seek help in the first place. Click on over to read the rest of them.

Take care of yourself, everybody. Rest up. Drink plenty of fluids. Take your vitamins. Use sunblock. Mom-type advice. Mom’s usually right about these things. I’ll see you next Dragon*Con, if I don’t see you sooner.